A book by its cover, that is what you are not supposed to judge

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A book by its cover, that is what you are not supposed to judge. I wonder how true that is. A cover does not have to represent the subject perfectly, but it does give you the Idea!

For example, P.G.Wodehouse was unlucky with his covers.

A recent paperback edition of Leave it to Psmith (1923)has a cover illustrating that major moment when the Efficient Baxter is caught in the middle of the night throwing flowerpots through Lord Emsworth’s bedroom window. On the cover Baxter is wearing blue pyjamas.

This is perfectly in error. Baxter in the book is wearing lemon-coloured pyjamas. Because of this colour Lord Emsworth is able to see him in the dark.

And no one seemed to be able to get the pig right. The Empress of Blandings is a Berkshire Black. That seems easy enough to make her colour known. But no, she is constantly turned into a Large White, a Gloucestershire Old Spot, or something that looks like a a hippopotamus.

In only one Penguin cover is the Empress black and wearing a nose ring, but this is Something Fresh (1915) and the Empress does not appear in the book, nor is she even mentioned.

The first of the Lord Emsworth novels to feature the Empress of Blandings is Summer Lightning (1929). The Everyman’s Library is doing sterling work publishing all of Wodehouse, and on the cover of Summer Lightning the Empressis black. But the Empress is not wearing her nose ring. Another major mistake.

In the Penguin edition of Summer Lightning the Empress appears in a photograph. She is white with black spots and no nose ring.

The sequel to Summer Lightning is Heavy Weather (1933) and none of the several editions I have of this excellent comic work has the pig correct, i.e black with nose ring.

The nose ring is mentioned in the books because it makes it easy to steal the Empress.

What has all this to do with my latest summer reading shocker? There is no pig in The Summer Stock Murders, but there is a scantily-clad bimbo as seen on the cover. The cover even has her filly panties the correct colour, i.e flaming red.

This verisimilitude, I hope, will make you rush out to buy this saga of murders in a New England summer theatre.

There is even a scene where the curvy female is wearing no pants. I won’t go into further details in case older readers suffer cardiac arrests. If so, don’t worry; ten years ago I suffered 127 cardiac arrests, and look at me now, penning sex and murder romps.

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April 26, 2014 · 6:07 am

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